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Entry period opens for 10000 COOP Think 13 prize

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (6/5/12)--Entries are now being accepted for CO-OP THINK Prize 13, a competition to inspire solutions to issues confronting the credit union industry.

Entrants have until Sept. 28 to complete their Round One applications and become eligible for the MasterCard-sponsored $10,000 grand prize, said CO-OP Financial Services.

The solutions put forward in the competition can take any form. Examples include an innovative application of technology, a new process for back office efficiency or a fresh approach to industry advertising and marketing.

Judging is based on four standards: impact, creativity, the application of the idea across the industry and ease of implementation.

Key CO-OP THINK Prize 13 dates include:

  • Sept. 28--Deadline to complete an on-line entry application;
  • Oct. 30--Semi-finalists will be notified, and invited to produce a detailed business plan;
  • Dec. 19--Semi-finalist business plans are due;
  • Jan. 31, 2013--A total of three finalists will be notified on or about this date;
  • March 25-April 19, 2013--On-line voting takes place; and
  • May 1, 2013--Announcement of winner at the THINK 13 Conference in Chicago.
This is the third year for the CO-OP THINK Prize competition. The prize money goes to the individual entrant, who may use it toward executing the idea, though not obligated to do so.

The 25 semi-finalists and the three finalists are selected by judges from CO-OP Financial Services and an industry panel.

Grass is greener paper touts TMG card processing

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DES MOINES, Iowa (6/5/12)--Financial institutions undergoing a card-processing contract renewal must determine whether their processor relationship is a true partnership or simply a vendor-client arrangement. To help make that assessment, The Members Group (TMG) has issued a white paper with questions card managers can ask of their teams.

Authored by Lesley Hastings, TMG director of new client partnerships, "When the Grass Really is Greener: Evaluating Your Processing Partner at Renewal Time" underscores several qualities TMG deems important to the financial institution-processor partnership.

"What motivates a financial institution's curiosity about alternative providers often isn't some catastrophic experience with their current partner," writes Hastings. "Rather, it's a nagging sense that something about the partnership just isn't right."

Among the 11 questions Hastings recommends card teams discuss at least one year before renewing a processor contract are:

  • Are unique cardholders being taken into consideration or does the processor apply a one-size-fits-all philosophy to our business?
  • How much control of card programs does the credit union desire, and can the processor meet those specific requirements?
  • Does the credit union have the expertise to manage regulatory changes, and if not, can it rely on the processor for assistance?
Payments have the potential to be a true differentiator for credit unions, Hasting concludes. Yet that potential can easily become bottlenecked by the wrong processing partnership. The questions the white paper provides are designed to clarify expectations and set a course for the future, said TMG.

Covera unveils new website logo

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ALBANY, N.Y. (6/5/12)--Covera, a payments solutions provider, has unveiled a new logo, tagline and a redesigned website.

"Since our doors first opened in 1986, Covera has been constantly evolving," said Kimberly McCumber-Ploof, Covera chief operating officer. She said the updates reflect Covera's growth in size and geographical reach. Together, these changes represent who we are and where we're going."

Covera has shortened its company name and created a new tagline, "Proven," which is reflected in its new logo. While keeping its trademark blue color, Covera's logo has been updated to reflect the organization's fresh, modern approach to payment solutions, the company said.

The new website includes more bold colors and graphics, a new "Events" calendar, and an "In the News column." The site's pages are designed to work more intuitively, McCumber-Ploof said.

Covera delivers debit, credit and ATM solutions to credit unions.